How to create an iPhone or Droid app for your business

Screen shot 2010-02-28 at 10.46.21 AM Last week I announced that the Drew McLellan iPhone and Droid apps were available.  I also promised that I’d walk you through the process I went through to create the apps.

To give you the kind of detail I want to share, this is going to end up being a few blog posts, rather than one novella of a post!  Today, let’s focus on who I was going to partner with to get the app done.

Exploring the options

Once I decided that I had better jump on the mobile bandwagon, I sought out Mike Sansone — who many of you may know, was my blog coach when I got started and is still my Go-To guy when I need to learn something new in the space.

I asked Mike to take me on a tour of the potential vendors and help me gauge the pros and cons of each.  (A side note… there are many brilliant app designers out there but I knew I didn’t need or want something that custom.  So I wanted an off the shelf solution that I could customize a bit to make it my own.)

Mike showed me the following sites:

iSites (  This is a new player to the space.  


  • Price was right… One time $25 fee if they got to choose the ads that appeared in your app’s footer banner (all family friendly) or $99 a year if you selected the ads you’d allow.
  • They’d do all the work of submission to Apple etc.
  • Also would build a Droid version
  • Allowed the app user to share your content via Facebook & Twitter
  • With the $99 version, you could monetize your app if you wanted


  • You had to have ads on your footer banner
  • They are new in the space…not a lot of feedback (good or bad) about them yet
  • No push (send messages to app subscribers) yet

Mother Apps (


  • Clearly vetted — Guy Kawasaki and Chris Brogan among others use them
  • Free if you allow ads (which you can share in the revenue), $99 a year for the no ad version
  • They’d do all the work of submission to Apple etc.
  • fast — you could have your app in the Apple Store within 7-10 days of submission


  • Not a lot of customizing can be done — pretty much your blog feed, your Twitter feed and one other option (most use YouTube it seems)
  • No push (send messages to app subscribers) yet
  • No Droid or Blackberry versions yet (but their site says they are coming soon)

AppMakr (


  • Lots of big names are using them (Inc., Seth Godin, AllTop)
  • Very fast turnaround (Could be available in a day or two)
  • $200 one time fee
  • They’d do all the work of submission to Apple etc.
  • Phone tech support available ($120/hour)
  • Can customize the app’s tabs


  • No push (send messages to app subscribers)
  • No Droid or Blackberry versions yet

Mobile Roadie (


  • Vetted and used by people like Dan Pink and Ashton Kutcher
  • Incredibly easy interface and content management tool
  • Publishes with built in multi-language support
  • Has push capabilities
  • Already building Droid apps too
  • They do all the work of submission to Apple, Droid, etc.
  • Lots of viral features — users can share your content via Facebook, Twitter, e-mail
  • No ads


  • Most expensive of the bunch — $500 set up fee ($200 more if you want push)
  • $29/month fee


I’m sure there are other vendors out there — these are just the ones we looked at.  As I learned more about what was available, I was also able to sort out my own priorities.  Here’s how they shook out:

  • Ease of use — I wanted a content management system that I could handle on my own
  • I wanted to be able to share more than just my blog feed and tweets
  • I didn’t want to be limited to iPhone users so I wanted to publish for other platforms like the Droid
  • I wanted the push functionality
  • I wanted to be able to customize the navigation (both labels and order)
  • I wanted users to be able to share (Facebook, Twitter etc.) my content from the app
  • I wanted to be able to link to my books (with easy access to buy)

In the end, despite the higher cost — I decided on Mobile Roadie.  They offered more customization and the ability for me to really include a wider variety of content in my app.  But it was their content management system that really won me over.

In another post this week, I’ll give you a tour of just how easy it was for me to add content and create the look/feel of my app.

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